Thursday, 18 October 2012

illness and the jobbing musician.. an observation.

Every now and again, and I should firstly state, that having been solo since 2006, and played well over 500+ solo gigs and cancelled 6 including these two in that time,  you have to make a decision that is the worst possible. To cancel a gig.

The decision i take to pull a gig comes down to three factors.

1> do i feel well enough to load up my gear, drive to the venue, set it all up, tune all my guitars, and then sing and play the absolute best i can for 2+ hours ?

2> how shitty will the venue be with me for pulling the gig. This has to be a standard question. My regular venues should know me well enough by now that as my solo gigs form part of my income as a self-employed musician, i would never knowingly cancel a show. And, it must be said, I have never been tempted to ever do this.  I have respect and loyalty for any venue that deems I'm worthy of being paid to play at their venue. A healthy respect I should add, and this should work both ways.

3> Lastly, If there are two or more gigs in a weekend, what if I'm able to play 1? or 2? how would my voice hold up if i were to launch into a rock track in the first set ? if it went, would the punters be walking about later on, with me struggling to keep up?  nobody wants to see that ? do they ?  NO.


I ask all these questions, and more, before, finally, admitting defeat and phoning the venue directly and explaining. Normally, the venue understands.  However, on certain occasions, despite playing at venues for years and years, and putting up with their cancellations and general inability to organise, i get sick and have to cancel one gig, and, the business that it is, I find that I'm  " unreliable, and have let us down too often " loll..   I digress.

I was never under any illusion ( perhaps when i was 16!! ) that the music business is an extremely fickle business.. I am always looking for new and better ways to deliver my "chocolate cake" to the masses.

Usually in these blogs, I wax lyrical about how much effort I put into my gigs. Today, As i approach a weekend of gig-less income due to a very nasty chest infection, I wont bother you with the intense passion that I have for what I do.. rather, I remain resigned and content in my own skin, of one thing..

this  "The Show Must Go On" attitude, is a crock of shit..  On every single occasion throughout my 18 years playing in bands, and on high profile gigs and sessions, I have never seen it appropriate for a musician to just " carry on and get on with it " the results have been crap at best, and everyone walks away feeling like they've been cheated.

Too many times I see musicians performing like they're just going through the motions, like they don't even want to be at the gig.  whats the point ?  the reality is we have been asked to perform for a festival style event, (even if its in the local pub! ) so people can stay and be entertained by what you do, and walk away having hopefully had a good night.

But, largely, playing with a sore throat, unable to sing, and feeling lethargic and on tablets, leaves you feeling much less inspired, and well, just frankly playing and singing shit.


So, just wanted to touch on this subject fully, and to reiterate, that when I pull a gig, its because I'm literally too unwell to load up my car, set it all up, perform, and break it all down again, and drive home.

Do i love my job, of course, too much at this level i would reckon, I remain focused, and determined to fully see this career path through to its conclusion.

That is based on honesty, and being a realist.  not faking it, and doing half-arsed performances.


my work here is done, and I'm looking FORWARD (!) to getting back out there and playing for you all when I'm better..

X